The PortMiami expansion is nearly complete, making Miami the first port in the State of Florida capable of accepting the supersized ships that will soon sail through the expanded Panama Canal. But we do not believe that the PortMiami dredging project has been the unmitigated success its proponents claim it to be. The evidence is clear that the dredging operation, which began in November 2013, has deposited an asphyxiating blanket of sediment atop our coral reef: the same reefs that protect Miami Beach’s imperiled coastline from storm surges; support our teeming fish populations; and help sustain our booming tourist industry. Many Americans do not know that South Florida is home to the only coral reef tract in the continental United States: as unique as the sequoias of California or the geysers of Wyoming, and no less deserving of our protection.
We are thrilled to announce that we were awarded a Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Grant from the Waitt Foundation. These grants provide quick-turnaround funding to address emergent conservation issues. This type of funding is rare and critically important for conservation because these grants can be used to address sudden crises, such as algal blooms, oil spills, or coral bleaching. When environmental issues need an immediate response, waiting through a typical grant cycle be too slow.